Tip Sheet Tuesday: Not for Forever – What to Do When Adoption Isn’t an Option

When your family chose to become a foster family to help a child in need, you might have thought that—and perhaps were trained for—your home to be a temporary placement for a child before he or she was reunited with his or her birth parents. You were also taught that the goal of foster care is reunification; however, there are circumstances where that goal does not work, and alternative permanent options need to be considered. One of those options may be adoption. When a child in your care moves towards adoption, you, as the foster parent, will often be one of the primary people the child’s worker will ask to be the adoptive or “forever family” for the child and/or his or her siblings.

NotforForeverThe decision to adopt a child can be a difficult one, and it’s okay to say that you don’t want to adopt, or that you are unsure if you are able to commit at this time. When your family decides that adoption is not the best option for you and the child in your care, it can be a time of grieving, confusion, and moving forward. The Coalition staff are here to support you throughout your decision making process.

Difficult Decisions
Adoption is a lifelong commitment, and there are many reasons families like yours choose to become a partner in finding a forever family for the children in their homes instead of becoming that forever family themselves. As a foster family, you can be part of this process by supporting the children in your home who will be preparing to move, as well as the children who will remain in your care. The type of support needed differs from child to child depending on the individual and their age and developmental level. Children tend to respond best when you remain open and honest, as well as give age- and developmentally-appropriate facts to each child. This will help all the children in your home to continue to build positive, trusting relationships with you and the other adults in their lives. Some ideas of support include, but are not limited to: starting a conversation about the situation, encouraging children to draw pictures about how they are feeling, and taking extra time to be one-on-one with each child. You may also want to solicit the help of an expert. A list of therapists can be found on our website.

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